Tag Archives | Apps

Silent Circle, The New Encryption App That Is Terrifying The Government

The idea is to “democratize encryption” by making it available to the non-tech-savvy with the push of a button. Will this be used for good or evil? Slate‘s Ryan Gallagher explains:

The startup tech firm Silent Circle’s groundbreaking encrypted data transfer app will enable people to send files securely from a smartphone or tablet at the touch of a button—photographs, videos, spreadsheets, you name it—sent scrambled from one person to another in a matter of seconds.

The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a “Silent Text” app. The sender of the file can set it on a timer so that it will automatically “burn”—deleting it from both devices after a set period of, say, seven minutes. It’s a game-changer that will almost certainly make life easier and safer for journalists, dissidents, diplomats, and companies trying to evade surveillance.

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Apple Rejects Drone Strike Notification App

Drone+, which drops a pin on the map whenever a U.S. drone makes a kill, was rejected by Apple first as “not useful,” then as “objectionable.”  Because the whole point of drone killings is that we don’t have to know or think about them. CNET writes:

Apple has rejected an iPhone app designed to keep track of fatalities caused by U.S. drone strikes for its “objectionable” content.

Drones+ sends text messages to iPhones whenever the media reports casualties resulting from a drone strike and shows users the locations of drone strikes on a Google map.

Apple has rejected the app three times this summer, the most recent of which cited App Store guidelines that prohibit “objectionable” content, according to Josh Begley, the app’s creator. “I totally understand it from Apple’s perspective,” he said. “They don’t want to have anything that could be considered controversial by anyone. I get that, and I understand that.”

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iPad Painting App For Cats Unveiled

Most of the pet-oriented phone apps have been dismal as one would expect (chasing a virtual mouse bouncing across the screen, et cetera), but Paint for Cats should be cherished for allowing the expression of nonhuman creativity. Art of the future should not be restricted to humans. Metro UK writes:

A ball of string used to keep cats entertained – but it seems an iPad is more appealing to the our feline friends these days after a US company opted to develop some new tablet Apps specifically for them.

The app [Paint for Cats] makes a colourful paw imprint when a cat touches the screen. It was recently tested at an animal shelter where it received a positive response, with bigger cats such as lions and tigers even taking to it.

Creator TJ Fuller said: ‘I had seen so many YouTube videos of cats playing with iPads but of course they were playing games designed for humans… I would love to do a game for dogs but they generally don’t react to that sort of stimuli like cats do.

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ACLU Phone App Lets You Secretly Record Police Interactions

An adorable animation unveiling the ACLU's free Police Tape app, available initially for Android and soon for iOS. You too can be a watchdog!
Citizens can hold police accountable in the palms of their hands with "Police Tape," a smartphone application from the ACLU of New Jersey that allows people to securely record and store interactions with police, as well as provide legal information about citizens' rights when interacting with the police.
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‘See Something Say Something’ Phone App Unveiled For Mass Transit

 Did you know that Big Brother is a crowdsourcing project? The ELERTS Corporation on their See Say App, which the greater Boston area’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is urging commuters to adopt:

The app is designed to let riders easily and instantly report suspicious activity to Transit authorities with their smartphones – crowdsourcing public safety with thousands of eyes and ears on the ground. When people see something, they can send something – with photos, text and incident location details that go directly to Transit Police.

“If you see something, say something” is a public safety campaign widely promoted by railway transit systems and airports worldwide. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is promoting “See Something Say Something” to urge citizens to be alert and to help keep each other safe.

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Profiled By The TSA? There’s An App For That

fly_rightsTasmin Shamma for NPR:

More than a decade after 9/11, heightened security at U.S. airports has become routine, yet some religious and minority groups say they’re unfairly singled out for even more screening. Well, now there’s an app for that.

The mobile app is called FlyRights. Travelers who suspect they have been profiled take out their smartphone, tap a finger on the app and answer about a dozen questions. Then they hit “submit” and an official complaint is filed immediately with the Transportation Security Administration.

The app is the work of civil rights groups led by The Sikh Coalition. Amardeep Singh, co-founder of the Coalition, says the idea came from Sikh entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who felt they were being stopped unfairly at airports, too often.

“They literally said to one of our staff members, ‘There should be an app for that’,” Amardeep said. “We thought, great idea, let’s start working on it.”

The app has already been tested with the TSA.

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Program Dreams With Your iPhone

SigmundIf this app works, how long before others start to “program” your dreams in ways you may not want? From CNN:

Harvard PhD student Daniel Nadler is trying to bring a really rudimentary version of the movie “Inception” to life with a new iPhone app that aims to help you “program your dreams.”

Called Sigmund, the 99-cent app builds off of pre-existing sleep science to help people “program” the content of their dreams from a list of 1,000 keywords. After you select one to five words from the list, a sorta-soothing, sorta-robotic female voice reads the words you select during the deepest moments of your sleep cycle – the REM cycles – when you’re most likely to dream vividly. In a sleep study that was the basis for the app, 34% to 40% of participants’ dreams were memorably altered by the suggestive readings, he said.

“Obviously what goes on in the sleeping brain is not entirely remembered so it could actually be a higher incorporation rate,” he said.

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Microsoft Creates ‘Avoid Ghetto’ Feature For GPS

ghettoThere are very few areas in the United States in which merely driving through on a main thoroughfare is a serious danger, so personal safety is not what this is about — it’s an app to avoid people of a lower socioeconomic status. Via the Inquisitr:

Microsoft Corporation is taking heat for a patent it filed for what is being called the “Avoid Ghetto” GPS App. The app esentially links up with your GPS or Smartphone and when you are approaching an area that, based on crime statistics or racial make-up, is deemed undesirable it gives you directions around it.

Sarah E. Chinn, author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism, made an interesting point where she stressed that even though it may give people less of a nervous feeling to not get lost and wind up in a really bad neighborhood, the vast majority of crime is committed by people that know each other so this app would not really improve driver safety.

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An App That You Play With Live Pigs

piggameProvide some kicks for both yourself and a farm animal on a faraway continent. Treehugger writes:

In hopes of staving off boredom in human and swine alike, a team of Dutch designers have created Pig Chase — an app for interspecies entertainment that playfully pits iPad users against real-life pigs, who might otherwise only meet one another on a plate.

Since 2001, law has required pig farmers in the European Union to provide some form of entertainment to their livestock as a way of keeping them in good emotional health, which in turn helps curb aggression and anxiety. Often, toys and other materials are placed inside the sties for animals to interact with, but perhaps unsurprisingly, some farmers have found it quite difficult to turn their pigpens into playpens.

With that in mind, designers from Utrecht School of the Arts and Wageningen University in the Netherlands ventured to create new ways to make swine swoon — resulting in a project called Playing with Pigs.

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